Kenda USA introduced its latest light truck tire during Automotive Aftermarket Industry Week in Las Vegas in November. The Klever A/T2 KR628 features “Tier 1 quality at a top Tier 3 price,” said Jimmy Yang, president of American Kenda Rubber Ind. Co. Ltd. Yang is also chairman of Kenda’s parent company in Taiwan.
The Klever A/T2 was developed at Kenda’s technical center in Green, Ohio. Tom Williams, vice president of the technical center and the tech group, says the engineers performed computer modeling on every size — not just one prototype — to make sure every size met the needs of both consumers and Kenda dealers.
The tire will be available early next summer in 40 passenger and LT sizes (see sidebar below).
Brandon Stotsenburg, Kenda USA’s vice president of automotive sales, said the all-terrain segment has expanded. “When we introduced the Klever R/T tire a couple of years ago, we felt the market was showing a real need for an extreme A/T product with an aggressive off-road look, a tire that could really perform as an M/T tire traditionally would, but also ride relatively smooth and quiet on-road.
“We learned from some of the aesthetic cues of the R/T, and (incorporated) them into the A/T2 tread pattern, which is why there are a lot of similarities when you look at the two treads. We also synched up their size lineups. Together, the A/T2 and the R/T have a very complete size lineup that will match what the market is looking for, relative to the performance in those areas.”For off-road enthusiasts, the Klever A/T2 is engineered with an aggressive upper sidewall that protects against cuts, tears and abrasion. In addition, a large number of biting edges offer aggressive performance on all types of terrains. For winter driving conditions, the tire features an all-weather compound and a high-sipe density for biting edges on snow and ice. It also has 3-Peak Mountain Snowflake certification.
Kenda is backing the tire, which will be produced in Kenda’s new consumer tire plant in Vietnam, with a 50,000-mile limited tread wear warranty for LT sizes and 60,000-mile warranty for P-metric and metric fitments.
Yang said the Vietnam plant will be able to produce 6 million tires annually by the end of 2020.
Kenda also has a tire plant in Taiwan (annual capacity of 1.5 million) and two in China (annual capacity of 7 million). Because of U.S. tariffs on Chinese tire imports, tires manufactured in China are targeted for other parts of the world.
After the Vietnam plants reaches its annual capacity of 6 million tires, Yang said planning for the next phase of expansion will begin. Kenda still has room to add capacity, maybe even TBR production, at the facility. “Growth is always the ultimate goal for Kenda.” ■